Archive for the ‘speedy sewing’ category

Update on sources of quick-make patterns

March 5, 2016

I added a list of all the timed patterns currently available from the Big 4, and this post got so large I’ve divided it in 2 sections. The more recent posts are :
1. Speedy patterns to make in half a day or less
A list of links to current patterns taking 3 hours or less sewing time.
2. Very quick and easy patterns which are not timed
This is not much changed from the post below.

There are wardrobe sewing contests at both Stitchers Guild and Pattern Review at the moment (March 2016).

Many contestants find themselves doing some speed sewing in the final weeks, to get the full number of garments made. So what are some good sources of quick-make patterns ?

Obviously these patterns have to avoid any technique that takes time. So they’re very simple, with few added design features and little shaping. But there are designers who manage to respond to this need by providing interesting shapes and design features that don’t need much work.

It’s also helpful to know which sewing techniques you’re relaxed about. For example, most quick patterns avoid zips and buttonholes, collars and set-in sleeves, any hand sewing. But if you’re a sewist who can do those in a whizz, then why not.

Fabric choice can be crucial. Quality fabrics can give a luxury look to even the simplest of styles. Choose wovens with a bit of body, so they don’t need much support from interfacing and don’t change shape while you’re sewing them. Not slippery, doesn’t fray easily. Similarly with knits – choose ones that aren’t too floppy. Knits have the advantage they don’t fray, so no need for seam finishing. And there are non-knit fabrics like this too.

Some of these patterns may use less than ideal sewing processes to speed up the make. You can always choose to take a bit longer on better techniques, though it may take some thought.

(The patterns are tissue unless download is mentioned.)

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Patterns which the publishers suggest times for

This is the section replaced by a new post.
These times assume you’re an experienced sewer !

BMV used to give sewing times for several of their patterns, but do it less often now. Some of the timed patterns are still available. For casual classics, see previous posts on speedy patterns from the Big 4 which are supposed to take less than 2 hours sewing time.

Here are some new examples from Simplicity-New Look :
New Look 6816, knit cut-on sleeve tops, elastic-waist skirt and pants.
Simplicity 8180, shirts
Simplicity 2414, elastic waist pants and tiered skirts.
New Look 6399, skirts and pants
Simplicity 1068, knit skirts
Simplicity 8219, lined vests.

For modern casuals, try Seamwork download patterns from Colette Patterns – supposed to take less than 3 hours in total.

For more formal modern classics in less than 3 hours, see Textile Studio Patterns. Shorten the skirts and dresses to transform the look. Or try the jackets at thigh, knee, or low calf length.

Easy patterns which are not timed but only slightly less quick

Here’s a very simple pattern for skirts and pants :
Butterick 3460.

For casual outfits, combine those with these free slouchy top download patterns from Tessuti :
Cut on sleeve, straight sides (sheers)
Cut-on sleeve, a-line (knits)
Boxy with separate sleeves (knits)
There’s also the free MariaDenmark kimono tee (link in right menu).

All the patterns from 100 Acts of Sewing are ultra simple.

And the ePatterns among the download patterns from Sewing Workshop. Add quick elastic waist skirts and pants for a complete wardrobe.

If you like a flouncy / lagenlook style, and have tried the pattern so you’ve found the pitfalls, Tina Givens patterns use simple shapes and techniques, and most are downloads. Though ‘buyer beware’, you do need to know enough to correct any gaps in the patterns and instructions. If you like a softer look but don’t want to go completely lagenlook, many of these can be shortened to thigh length and worn with other skirts, pants or jeans.

If you don’t need good instructions, there are the ‘one figure’ styles from Hot Patterns. Some are available as downloads.

And it’s worth searching for the gems among the dross in the free download patterns from (many of these are from Hot Patterns).

Also most of the styleARC patterns suitable for beginners are quick and easy.

Yet more simple tops and bottoms among the Sure Fit Designs Made in a Day styles. Most of these can be made starting from any basic top and pants fitting slopers, not just the SFD ones. Though you do need to do a bit of pattern work the first time you use them.

Quick and easy jackets are usually loose fitting with no collar. Maybe no closure, or use snaps, clasps, frogs, ties, cord loops instead of buttonholes. Often with cut-on sleeves. Or made from rectangles with square armholes. Sometimes raglan sleeves. There are patterns for these from many companies. Here’s my post from 2011 listing quick jackets from independent designers – most are still available.

MacPhee Workshop It’s Magic and World’s Easiest are ingenious simple casual patterns, though for my taste the techniques are sometimes over simplified. As they’re in Canada, there are many warm jackets and coats – not usual in quick pattern collections.

For a slight increase in skills and time needed, there’s a large range of Fast and Easy patterns from Butterick.

Very easy wardrobe patterns

Make the co-ordination decisions quick and easy by using a wardrobe pattern. Many easy New Look patterns for 2 or 3 items (most both tissue and printable on-line, see size menu), such as :

for knits :
New Look 6762, New Look 6735 (‘core 4’ of jacket, top, skirt, pants), New Look 6730, New Look 6461, New Look 6458, New Look 6420, New Look 6403, New Look 6402, New Look 6384, New Look 6216.

for wovens :
New Look 6428, New Look 6292.
This one isn’t labelled ‘easy’ (skirt and pants have darts and zips), but is nearly and has a ‘Core 4’ of jacket, top, skirt, pants : New Look 6217.

‘Learn to Sew’ pattern ranges

If you’re an experienced sewer, then you’ll probably find these patterns easy to make.

Kwik Sew Kwik Start
Simplicity Learn to sew
McCall’s Learn to sew (avoid the camp shirt 6972, or add a neck facing so you can sew the collar quickly and easily – video on facing pattern here from Louise Cutting)

Although these are ‘Learn to Sew’ patterns, many of them would be challenging as a first project for most complete beginners. But they do usually use simple techniques and clear instructions. I think the Simplicity and Kwik Start instructions are better for beginners, but that won’t matter so much for an experienced sewer.

Beware patterns labelled Easy or Beginner by many of the pattern companies, which may not be at all quick or even simple. Assess these patterns carefully for whether they use techniques that are trouble free and quick for you.

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Lots of good options. But we do need to allow for our own way of working. People who often sew quickly will go “oh good, 1 hour. . . whizz. . .done”. Meanwhile I’m saying “hmm, I do need to make samples of that stitch on my new machine. . . hmm, I need to adapt that pattern for my x, y, z fitting issues. . . hmm, that style element may be quick to sew but often doesn’t work well on me, I’d better make a test garment. . .”. I can take months to make a 1-hour pattern 😀 I can’t happily sew quickly a pattern that’s new to me. If I want some quick sewing, it has to be a Tried ‘N True pattern, one on which all the testing and development work has already been done.

But the quick pattern choices are wide. These days the need for speed doesn’t restrict you to making very plain classics. There are several designers who make very simple shapes in very special fabrics.

Good Luck with finding some speedy patterns which suit your clothing and sewing style. Then you can happily build a wardrobe with minimum effort 😀

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First published March 2016, links and patterns updated November 2016 (how quickly things change on the web. . .)

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Speedy Patterns update 2013

April 6, 2013

The Stitchers Guild annual Sewing With A Plan contest comes to an end on Tuesday April 30. So it’s time for an update of patterns that can be sewn in less than 2 hours – to help with any last minute sprint to the finishing line 😀

The SWAP requirement this year is to make a couple of different capsules of :
5 items : 3 tops, 2 bottoms, or
4 items : 2 tops, 1 bottom, 1 dress
plus a linking item which can be worn with both groups.
Giving a total 9, 10, or 11 items.

There’s a very wide variety of patterns available which the pattern companies claim can be sewn in less than 2 hours.
As there are dozens of them, I’m giving more information here about the few that I haven’t covered before, and just giving links to the ones I’ve shown drawings of previously.

[2015 update : There’s a download pattern line, Seamwork from Colette patterns, which claim to be makable in less than 3 hours.]

This list includes patterns that are oop but still available from US BMV (in 2013).

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Wardrobes and outfits

Simplicity 1561 described as sleepwear, but could be tunic, camisole, pants


Simplicity 5314 – sleepwear robe and pants. Shorten the robe for casual jacket-pants.


Simplicity 8589 – quick maternity wardrobe, for wovens.


Previously mentioned patterns :
New Look 6816 – knit top, skirt and pants.
Butterick 5225 – Life Style Wardrobe coded Easy rather than Very Easy. Butterick say it (presumably each garment) needs 2 hours of sewing time.

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Nancy Cornwell’s 90 minute fleece book has patterns for capes, ponchos, vests, scarves.

Previously mentioned patterns :
McCall’s 6209 – ponchos with a variety of shapes and necklines.
McCall’s 3448 – even easier, 1 hour ponchos.

And see the capes below.

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Make on the day needed. (Though, having once supervised the making of an entire Shakespeare play costumes in style like the nativity ones, in 2 days, I wouldn’t recommend this for peace of mind !)

McCall’s 2339 – nativity.


McCall’s 6142 – clowns.


McCall’s 4139 – vampire capes.


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Simplicity 1609 is a vintage 60s dress pattern for wovens, which they call a ‘Jiffy’ dress. In the 60s it was a quick make in comparison to what had gone before. But as it has a back zip and many darts, it’s not quick by today’s standards.


Many quick dress patterns have been shown in previous posts.


McCall’s 6074 – gathered front, sleeveless.
McCall’s 5893 – empire bodice, short sleeve option.


Butterick 5211 – shift, short sleeves.
McCall’s 6551 – shift with 2 necklines, 2 sleeves, 3 hems.

McCall’s 6465 – slightly a-line, 4 sleeves, 4 hems.
McCall’s 6102 – a-line, cup sizes to C and D, sleeveless or short sleeve.
McCall’s 9172 – a-line, sleeveless or short sleeves.

New Look 6804 – sleeveless.
New Look 6889 – sleeveless or cap sleeve.

New Look 6890 – gathered neckline, 5 raglan sleeve options, 3 lengths.
McCall’s 6558 – peasant style, 3 bodices, elastic waist, 4 hems.

This post – Quick patterns update 2012 – tops, dresses
includes quick dress patterns from independent designers.

Or find some of the fabric that is shirred along one side. Simply cut a length to go round you comfortably. Sew one seam to make a tube with the shirring at one end, and there’s a sun-dress. Well, you might like to take the time to add some straps.

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I haven’t found anything new, but there are many existing possibilities.


Butterick 5224 – many empire waist options.
McCall’s 5241 – cascade style cardigan, 3 front lengths all with the same back.


Butterick 4989 – various cascade/ waterfall front options.
McCall’s 6084 – cascade shawl collar with 4 sleeve lengths.

Butterick 4138 – unlined blazer they say can be made in 2 hours ! Choice of pocket styles and long or short sleeves.
Not so quick, the Palmer-Pletsch 8 hour jacket, McCall’s 6172.

These posts – Quick patterns update 2012 – skirts, pants, jackets, and Fast jackets – both include quick jacket patterns from independent designers.

Least-effort jacket ? Shirley Adams shows how to make a fleece jacket in a few minutes – in her Bog coat video.


McCall’s 2260 – unlined vests

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Several tops which I have given pictures of before, and which are still available :

New Look 6807 – 4 raglan sleeve options, knits.
New Look 6892 – raglan ‘peasant’ style, many sleeve options, wovens.

McCalls 5855 – 1-hour kaftan.

Butterick 5948 – dartless pullovers with various necklines, body and sleeve lengths. Site used to say they could be sewn in 2 hours, but no longer does. Borderline perhaps!

The 2015 Palmer-Pletsch shirts are :
McCall’s 6932 3 hour camp shit.
McCall;s 6613 band collar shirt – makes no time claims !

And many of the dress patterns can easily be shortened to make a top.

This post – Quick patterns update 2012 – tops, dresses
includes quick top patterns from independent designers, mainly for knits. Peggy Sagers demonstrates sewing Silhouette patterns 600 Classic Blouse for wovens in 1 hour in her associated webcast.

Many people have tee/ knit patterns they can make in a whiz on a serger/ overlocker. But if the pattern company doesn’t claim that, I haven’t mentioned it.

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Previously mentioned patterns :

McCall’s 5430 – wrap flared skirt.
Silhouette 2050 – straight wrap skirt with darts, button closure, no vertical seams.
McCall’s 6567 – elastic waist skirt with various lengths and hems, also a mock wrap version.
Simplicity 2368 – dirndl, mock wrap and 4 gore styles, 3 lengths.

Or make a dirndl skirt by cutting 2 fabric rectangles and sewing a casing for elastic around the top.

Skirt and pants
Simplicity 2414 – tiered skirt + elastic waist pants.

Butterick 5153 – one-seam pants, for women, men, children, various lengths.
McCall’s 6568 – elastic waist pants, 3 lengths, 2 leg shapes.
McCall’s 5889 – 1 hour tapered leg pants include several lengths.

This post – Quick patterns update 2012 – skirts, pants, jackets – includes quick skirt and pant patterns from independent designers.

new pattern 2015 : Simplicity 1068 for knit skirts and pants.

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Dozens more quick sewing patterns at AllFreeSewing. Though of course there’s no guarantee of the quality of the patterns or instructions.

What a rich selection, so many styles to choose from – pretty, casual, elegant, business-like. Which do you like ?

24 days left to the end of the SWAP contest.

So you need no more than 5 minutes of sewing time a day to make one of these patterns in the time available.

Or – whew – starting from scratch ? There are so many of these patterns to choose from – you could make one item a day starting from now, make a whole SWAP wardrobe, and finish with two weeks to relax and recover before the end of the contest !

Enjoy your sewing, make what you love.
So only do speedy sewing if you find it fun 😀

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Patterns and links available (some patterns oop and only from US BMV) April 2013

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Speedy patterns 2012 : skirts, pants, jackets

April 7, 2012

It’s the final weeks of the Stitchers Guild Sewing With A Plan contest for 2012. So here are some more speedy patterns to fill the last minute gaps 😀

I’ve already posted on the quick top and dress patterns available.

Here are some patterns for skirts, pants and jackets which the pattern companies claim can be sewn in 2 hours or less.

– – –

Skirts and pants

Few of the patterns in my previous post on quick skirts and pants are still in print.
Happily there are several to add.


Textile Studio Brussels one-seam skirt with elastic waist


Textile Studio Manhattan skirt with darts, zip, back slit, several lengths


McCall’s 5430 wrap skirt


McCall’s 6567 elastic waist skirt with various lengths and hems, there’s also a mock wrap version.


These patterns from my previous post on quick skirts are still in print :
Simplicity 2368 skirt with dirndl, mock wrap and 4 gore styles, 3 lengths.
Silhouette 2050 straight wrap skirt with darts, button closure, no vertical seams.


Butterick 5153 one-seam pants, for women, men, children, various lengths


McCall’s 6568 elastic waist pants, 3 lengths, 2 leg shapes


Silhouette 3400 yoga pants. Also webcast and DVD about using this pattern. Webcast and DVD say how to convert for wovens.


Textile Studio Soho Pant, slim fitting with darts and invisible zip.


Combination patterns

Simplicity 2414 tiered skirt + elastic waist pants


New Look 6816 for knit skirt, pants and top


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I haven’t found many new patterns for jackets, but fortunately several of the patterns mentioned in my previous posts are still in print.
Wardrobe patterns
Layers and capsules
Fast jackets

These are some to add :

McCall’s 6084 is a cascade shawl collar jacket for wovens with 4 sleeve lengths


In an e-mail Peggy Sagers says a couple of Silhouette patterns for knits can be made in an hour :

Silhouette Patterns 195 Sweater set


Silhouette Patterns 211 Nina’s top


Not so quick, but there’s a new version of the Palmer-Pletsch 8 hour jacket, McCall’s 6172.


Sadly the Butterick 4138 pattern which claims you can make a blazer in 2 hours is now out of print 😀

For outerwear, there’s McCall’s 6209 ponchos, which have a variety of shapes and necklines, not all shown here.


Still in print from previous posts :
McCall’s 2260 unlined vests
Butterick 5224 knit jackets.
McCall’s 5241 knit cascade style jacket has 3 front lengths all with the same back
Butterick 4989 cascade/ waterfall jackets
McCall’s 3448 ponchos

And nearly all the patterns in my post on fast jackets from independent designers are still in print.

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This year the focus of the Stitchers Guild Sewing With A Plan contest is Tried ‘N True patterns you can use repeatedly to make clothes that work well for you.
Would any of these speedy patterns fill that role for you ?

So have you got time to complete your SWAP wardrobe ?

23 days of SWAP left. Goodness, make one garment a day and you have time for Nancy Nix-Rice’s whole 23 item wardrobe 😀

Holiday weekend – enough time to make a ‘Core 4’ of top, jacket, skirt, pants.

Or, if you’re just missing one item for SWAP, find 15 minutes a day for the rest of the month.

Happy Sewing 😀

– – –

(P.S. here are free patterns for ultra-quick skirts and pants.)

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Patterns and links available April 2012

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Speedy patterns 2012 : tops and dresses

March 24, 2012

It’s nearly the last month of the Stitchers Guild Sewing With A Plan contest for 2012. So perhaps people are searching for quick-sew patterns to fill the last minute gaps in their wardrobe 😀

Here are links to my previous posts on speedy patterns. These were written nearly 2 years ago, and sadly some patterns are now oop.
Wardrobe patterns
Fast jackets
Skirts and pants
Layers and capsules

Here are the patterns I’ve found since then – patterns that the pattern companies claim only take 1 to 2 hours sewing time.

Double/ treble that time to include pattern adjustments for fit, cutting out, seam finishing, pressing. Say 4 to 6 hours needed in all. (I like to work very slowly :D)

There are 37 days of SWAP time left. Could you manage 10 minutes of sewing time a day ? or one day of concentrated sewing ?

Surprising numbers of patterns to mention, so I’ve needed to expand this to several posts.
This one on tops and dresses.
Plus links to some pattern ranges that don’t have specific timings but use very easy techniques, so presumably are quick to sew !

More planned on skirts, pants, vests, jackets, outerwear.


Many tops can of course be lengthened to dresses.

These patterns from my previous post on quick tops are still in print :
Butterick 5948 – basic classic dartless tops.
New Look 6807 – 4 raglan sleeve options, knits.
New Look 6892 – raglan ‘peasant’ style, many sleeve options, wovens.

These are some top patterns from Textile Studio to add to the list :

Textile Studio Tank top, Shell – shell (lower in diagram) for knits


Textile Studio Monaco shell – for knits or stretch fabrics


Textile Studio Santa Monica tee – for knits or stretch fabrics


For a woven blouse/ shirt, there’s Silhouette patterns 600 Classic Blouse, which Peggy Sagers demonstrates sewing in an hour in her webcast.


P.S. In an e-mail Peggy Sagers says these Silhouette patterns for knits can be made in an hour.
115 Anne’s top (cowl neckline)
219 Rachel’s knit top (sleeve emphasis)
312 Giorgio’s top (princess seams and peplum)
Also 95 Brooke’s top for wovens.

– – –


Not sure if the pattern companies think all these dress styles can be sewn in only two hours, or only the simplest versions !

Many dress patterns can of course be shortened to tops.

These are some new ones to add to my previous post on quick dresses.

Textile Studio Milan dress


Textile Studio Madison Avenue dress, for knits


McCall’s 6551 shift with 2 necklines, 2 sleeves, 3 hems.


New Look 6889 dress, cap sleeve option


New Look 6890 dress, 5 raglan sleeve options, 3 lengths


Textile Studio Basic dress


McCall’s 6102 dress, a-line, cup sizes to C and D, short sleeve option


McCall’s 6465 dress – slightly a-line, 4 sleeves, 4 hems (longer one not shown here)


Textile Studio Provence dress


McCall’s 6558 3 bodices, elastic waist, 4 hems


These patterns mentioned in my previous post on quick dresses are still in print :
New Look 6804, sleeveless.
McCall’s 6074, gathered front, sleeveless, for knits.
McCall’s 5893, empire bodice, short sleeve option, for knits.
Butterick 5211, shift dress, short sleeves.
McCall’s 9172, a-line, short sleeves.
McCalls 5855, kaftan.

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Pattern ranges using the easiest techniques

Some other pattern ranges offer an even wider selection of simply sewn styles, though they don’t make claims about sewing time.

For softer current styles, see the Simplicity Sew Simple range (don’t appear to be available in the UK).

If you like more ‘arty’ styles, there are Shapes patterns, some of which have only one or two main pattern pieces.

Textile Studio have some other patterns they say take 2-1/2 to 3 hours sewing time.

Patterns specifically for beginners are presumably quick to sew – for people who are beyond the beginner stage 😀

There are Simplicity ‘Learn to Sew‘ patterns.

And some of the BMV patterns picked for their “Sew Cool in School” program look easy.

Also Kwik Sew Kwik Start patterns are well known for their clear instructions.

I don’t personally think some of the BMV designations about ease of sewing are all that helpful. Very Easy Vogue, and some McCall’s Easy patterns, seem to me to be need Intermediate skills, and certainly wouldn’t be quick to make 😀

– – –

A surprisingly large range of different possibilities.

You won’t find a quick fitted style, as you need an opening to get into them. Which means buttonholes, zip, or wrap styling. Not speedy to do well.

How about taking this quick sewing to the extreme ? If one of these garments only needs 10 minutes a day to get it done in the 5+ weeks before the end of SWAP – take 2 hours a day and you’ve got time to make 12 garments, a whole wardrobe 😀

So best wishes for getting some quick results, if that’s what you enjoy 😀

– – –

(P.S. here are free patterns for ultra-quick tops and dresses.)

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Patterns and links available March 2012

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